Wednesday, April 29, 2009

R-rated post below

Fireman: find 'em hot, leave 'em wet

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stupidest looking dog ever?

Heather's dog, Mugsy, in a car seat. Actually, heather just reminded me that I'm wrong. He looks ever stupider in his raincoat and shoes!

-- Post From My iPhone

Mobile blogging

I just downloaded a new iPhone app so that I can do some mobile blogging. At least for the next couple days, i'm spending a lot less time at my computer. So, we'll see if this helps with blogging frequency, which I know has sucked lately. Although in a couple days, I'll be spending a lot of time studying by my computer again, so frequency will probably go back up.

In any case, still not much exciting going on. I have been back in the gym and back to tanning though, so I'll finally stop looking like a ghost. Seriously, it is not safe to look at me in direct sunlight right now, so I'm really just getting tan for your safety. It's also been very nice to be back at Federal Hill Fitness, which is easily my favorite gym in Baltimore. I have to drive 1/2 hr to get there, but I think it's worth it. Nothing exciting at the firehouse either. I've gotten a bunch of calls, but nothing exciting. I suppose nothing exciting for me is good for the community, but boring for me nonetheless. Ok, I'm up way too late, so time to go for now.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, April 19, 2009

USA update

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I probably won't be blogging every day over break, since there really just isn't that much interesting to say. But, I will keep blogging, so people don't think i've disappeared. Mostly, I've just been enjoying the delicious food that I've missed while in St. Maarten, the technology which is non-existent there, and the amazing roads which do not age your car 10 years in 2. When I see things like the brand new Whole Foods market and Bed Bath and Beyond which were just built by my house, along with all the additions to the already very nice Annapolis Mall and all the other construction that's been going on, I really don't know what I did with myself for nearly 2 years. It's very easy to take for granted how great things are here, until you see how things are somewhere else.

In any case, I spent the other day (and night) back at the firehouse. I'm trying to remember what calls I ran, but there really wasn't anything that exciting. I did treat one rather intoxicated man with chest pain. The alcoholics are always tricky because it's sometimes difficult to tell if they actually have something going on, or if they're just suffering the side effects of being an alcoholic, or both. This particular guy had a normal 12-lead EKG and seemed in a much better mood than most people having an MI, but he also had anywhere from 2 to 6 stents put in anywhere from many years ago to a month ago. I know that sounds awfully vague, but he was a pretty lousy historian. He was also taking some medications which led me to believe that he had more of a history than he was aware of. So, I just did the safest thing I could and treated him as though he were having an MI. If he was, then I may have saved his life. If he wasn't, then he still had improved blood flow to his heart, which is rarely a bad thing.

Oh...and my luggage finally came, at some ungodly hour of the morning. It actually did make it on a flight the day after I left, which is what they said would happen. But, since flights from St. Maarten typically don't get in to Baltimore until late at night, it seemed like it took 2 days to get here. After a very long day yesterday of emptying 5 overstuffed bags of luggage, my room is finally back together and actually is looking like a decent place to live.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Well, I am back home, for good! Of course, it wouldn't have been a complete trip home if St. Maarten didn't give me one final screw you before I left the island. This time, in came in the form of not having my luggage...still. This was definitely partially USAir's fault, but St. Maarten contributed. USAir sent the wrong plane; it was supposed to be a 757, but they sent a much smaller Airbus. According to the flight attendant, that plane cannot handle the load and has no business in the caribbean. Well, she was right...the plane, not even full, was 7,000 lbs. overweight! But, here's where St. Maarten comes in!

Usually, they would just remove some fuel from the plane and get a more direct route from air traffic control. But, naturally, St. Maarten either lacks the desire or the technical capabilities (maybe both) to remove fuel from the plane. I would think that it would be a fairly easy procedure, and it's apparently routine at pretty much any other airport, but not in St. Maarten. So, instead, they removed EVERY bag from the plane and said they'd ship them out the next day. Again, not surprisingly, they apparently didn't ship them yesterday. So, I got to spend my first night home in Philly, which honestly wasn't that bad since I got home early the next morning, but I still don't have my bags! Oh well...I'm home now, so I don't have to worry about any of that anymore. Hopefully the bags will show up today.

In other news, I took care of some very non-St. Maarten things yesterday. Namely, I got my new TV installed in my room with Verizon FIOS HDTV, got our internet speed upgraded to 20/5 for free (which is insanely fast), and got the iPhone 3G, with a real AT&T rate plan. Today, I need to pick up some stuff for my car, and then it's off to the firehouse to save some lives (or more likely, taxi some people to the hospital).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New (far more accurate) Microsoft commercial

A much more accurate version of what a MIcrosoft commercial would be, if they weren't paying actors to do them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Goodbye, St. Maarten!!!! Basic Sciences....DONE

Today, I passed the Kaplan comp, which was the final exam we had to pass to leave the island. I use the term "pass" loosely, since a 45% was passing, and I really didn't do much better than that. For those who have not taken the Kaplan exam yet, it's HARD, like twice as hard as the NBME comp. Fortunately, as long as you pass, it counts as nothing. So, having passed that exam, I am out of here at 2:15 tomorrow afternoon!

It feels like yesterday, that I visited the school and the island for a week with my dad to check the place out. I was even jealous of the first semesters, because they had at least been accepted and were on their way. When I got here, I couldn't believe I was finally in med school, but still jealous of just about every semester ahead of me. I could not imagine the day that I'd actually finish basic sciences and leave the island for clinicals.

Well, I'm done basic sciences, and tomorrow, I leave the island for clinicals (after a much needed break and lots of studying for the step). At times, it seemed like a very long 20 months, which I thought would never end. But really, time here does go by very quickly. When I look back through my notes, or take comp exams, I really can't believe how much information I've managed to pack into my head in the relatively small amount of time. I still have lots to learn, but when family or friends have a medical question, I know the answer way more often than not. And, not only do I usually know the answer, but I could usually go on for a couple minutes about why that's the answer.

For now though, i have yet to pack anything. Since I'm leaving the island pretty soon, I should probably get on that! I will likely not blog tomorrow, but I'll try to get back to it as soon as I can. Unfortunately, i probably won't have much interesting to write over break, unless you're interested in ambulance and fire calls.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

oh yeah...

3 days left!!!

The world may be coming to an end

I have found something in St. Maarten that I do not think has an equal in the US! I never thought I'd say that, and I can't believe I'm putting it on the internet for all to see, but I think it's true. I went to the Sunday brunch at the Westin today, and I have yet to find another buffet that can even come close. It's $50 per person, but really not at all hard to get your money's worth. Instead of telling you about it, I'll just show you (with crappy iPhone pictures)

Oysters, muscles, crab claws, and huge shrimp

Typical breakfast stuff, but much better than usual (eggs with or without cheese, thick sliced bacon, pancakes, french toast, etc.)

Omelet station

Breads, donuts, pastries, fruits, deli meats


Fried rice station and pasta station

Indian food, beef stroganoff, various other things that I don't remember

Lamb carving station

Wilbur the suckling pig (they also had a baked ham carving station next to the pig)

The view from the restaurant

All you can drink champagne and mimosa (we went through quite a few of these). By "quite a few," I mean probably most of these bottles.

Amazing dessert buffet

Chocolate fountain with plenty stuff to dip in it. They also had white chocolate on the other side

Basically, amazing. Not a bad way to spend my last weekend on the island! We sat there for nearly the full three hours that the buffet was open, taking about 1/2 hour breaks to digest, and then eat more. I'm not sure that I'll eat again before I leave on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

All you can eat sushi in SXM!

For those of you who enjoy sushi, The Stone in Simpson Bay has all you can eat sushi for $25 on Sundays. It's not the best sushi that I've had in my life, but it is still very good, and much better than I would have expected from all you can eat. it's made to order (not buffet), so that helps a lot. For $25, you get seaweed salad, miso soup, and all the rolls you want. They've got probably about 20 rolls to choose from, including spicy tuna, salmon, and shrimp, shrimp tempura, eel, yellowtail, california, salmon and cream cheese, etc. The rolls are big and it's really not difficult at all to get your money's worth. They run it from 11:30 - 3:00 PM on Sundays and I'd definitely recommend the trip.

Friday, April 10, 2009

5th semester notes burning!

At AUC, you have two options: paper notes or computer notes. The paper notes will run you $150 a semester, the computer notes are free. If you choose to go the paper route, you wind up with an insanely large pile of notes, which are probably taller than you if you stack them all up. Last night, there was a final going away party at the Palm Beach Condos. To celebrate leaving the island forever, many people brought their notes to burn in the bonfire. The fire actually started out probably about 8 feet tall or so, but I forgot that I had my iPhone in my pocket until it was the size you see here. I was big a few minutes before I got this pic. In any case, burning notes was a lot more fun than I expected it to be, particularly genetics and behavioral!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No more scantrons!!

Today was the Intro to clinical diagnosis shelf exam, which was the last scantron I'll ever have to fill out in basic sciences...maybe forever. Between now and Tuesday, I have absolutely nothing left to do except study and get ready to leave. The only thing I have standing between me and being home is the Kaplan exam, but that's computerized, and I'm not really terribly worried about passing. I've already passed the NBME comp exam, and I got a better score on the Kaplan diagnostic 3 months ago, before I had finished pharm or done any step studying at all, than I need to pass next week. So, I'd have to screw something up pretty badly to not pass!

As far as the ICD shelf goes, it wasn't really that terrible. Since probably everyone in the class could pass ICM, even if they failed the shelf, it was a little difficult to be motivated enough to make it through 125 questions. But, after about an hour and a half, I made it through. It was what you would expect...clinical diagnosis. I don't really know how you'd study for it specifically, other than paying attention in medical school. If you really wanted to study for it, studying path would be your best bet. It was almost entirely symptoms, and then asking for the diagnosis. It was surprisingly heavy on micro and behavioral type questions, but the micro was very straight forward.

Speaking of micro, time to study some of it before Taco night at Brian and Melinda's!

Monday, April 6, 2009

8 days, and counting!

Today we had the ICM 6 exam. I really have not the slightest idea of how I did on there. Some of the questions were absolutely absurd, and some were pretty difficult. Unfortunately, they gave us almost no notes and you basically just had to remember what they said in class. So, very difficult to study for. The questions ranged from "Which of the following notes do you have to write every day? a) Soap b) Shampoo c) Conditioner d) I don't remember, to very difficult questions that I don't think they even covered in class! Rumor has it that only one person failed though, and they're debating whether that person should have to come back next semester or if they're going to give a question back. Since some of the questions were a bit ridiculous, I'd imagine that they could easily find one to give back. But, who knows. That's just a rumor, so it could be completely off. I'm really just hoping I'm not the one person that failed, and that they don't make me come back if I am!

After the comp, I had some of the most amazing food that I have had in a very long time! Geneva and Chuck cooked Cajun food for Farnaz, Tangra (and family) and me. She made crawfish etoufee, crawfish fettucini, delicious potato salad, and Farnaz made a homemade cheesecake. I was pretty much full after the first big plate of food, but I went back for a second anyway. I just lost 18 lbs being sick, so I need to gain it back, and this was the perfect food to do it with! I was born in the wrong part of the country. I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to be from Louisiana.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

oooh Microsoft, when will you ever learn?

Microsoft currently has a new ad campaign running, where they try to show macs as being basically just more money for less computer, justified only by a pretty external housing. Fortunately, many people can see through Microsoft's silly ads, which have wound up backfiring on them time after time (lately, Apple has taken to specifically attacking Microsoft's new ad campaign). The first ad had some woman try to buy a 17" laptop for less than $1000. Apple only sells one 17" notebook, and it is of extremely high quality. Forget the fact that there is no PC offered with similar specs for less than $1000, but there is no PC in existence that matches the features of the new unibody 17" MacBook Pro!

Well, they've got a new commercial now, and it's even more absurd. In the newest commercial, Giampaolo (that's his real name) says he's very technologically savvy and knows what he wants. Specifically, he wants portability, battery life, and power. He looks over a mac and says it's "so sexy," but it's more about aesthetics than computing power, and that's just not what he wants!

So, what does tech-savvy Giampaolo wind up buying for $1500 (the budget Microsoft gave him)? He got an HP Pavillion HDX 16t. So, what's wrong with this whole advertisement?

1. He wanted something portable. But, the HP he picked out is a 16" widescreen model that, at 1.7 inches thick, is nearly TWICE as bulky as the MacBook, and that's before you add on extras (adding extras to a PC also makes it larger). That 16" screen also happens to have a miserably low screen resolution.

2. He wanted something with good battery life. But, HP's battery is rated for less than 3 hours, and reviewers say it gets less than two! The MacBook (15") is rated for 5 hours. Of course, he could spend an additional $150 for a more powerful battery, which hangs off the back of the already huge [plastic] computer, to double its life. This would put it right around what the MacBooks already achieve.

3. Probably most importantly, he wanted POWER, and the MacBook is all about aesthetics, right? Well, the memory architecture in his brand new computer is slower than what Apple was shipping in their MacBooks three years ago! The latest MacBooks use a new processor with newer RAM that's about twice as fast as the HP he bought! Also, although he got a computer with 4GB of RAM, the normal version of windows (which is installed on 94% of computers) can only use 3GB of it! This is not an issue he'd face with Apple.

Add to all this the fact that he will have to spend easily several hundred dollars on software to match the included features of OSX, and several hours installing and running anti virus and adware tools. Giampaolo really wouldn't appear to be that tech savvy after all! Doesn't sound like he got that great of a deal, does it?

AppleInsider summed it up best: The strangest point of this ad is that Giampaolo didn't get the portability, battery life, and power he was looking for, he just ended up with a cheap-appearing machine that obscured its real technical limitations under a flashy layer of misleading, specification-oriented marketing, the very thing he thought he was avoiding with HP: buying a brand rather than a computer. And that's exactly what Microsoft wants people to do: buy its brand rather than a computer that does what they want it to do.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

11 days, and counting

Today is a pretty unexciting day. Actually, it's a very unexciting day. I have nothing to do all day but watch Kaplan biochem videos. I'm hoping that between today and tomorrow, I can finish biochem and move on to micro, which is sure to be just as riveting. My time is quickly winding down on the island, but we still have a couple more hoops to jump through. On Monday, we have the ICM 6 exam. That class used to not count for credit, but people then decided not to go, so now we get a grade. So, thank you to the upper semesters who blew it off.

On Thursday, we have the ICM shelf exam. Nobody is really exactly sure how to study for that, but it doesn't count for much of our grade, so I'm just going to take it and hope for the best. I really don't know what kind of stuff they're going to ask, but I usually have a good idea of what's going on in ICM, so I don't anticipate too much trouble. There have definitely been many times lately that I felt like I've forgotten everything I learned, only to find out that I really know more than I think I do. I'm hoping that Thursday is one of those times.

But, the good news is...only 11 days left!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One good thing in a sea of bad

Despite nearly universally bad things happening to me over the past 3 weeks, I did receive one very good piece of information today! For the past many semesters, I think it was everyone's impression that even if you passed the first comp exam, you still have to take the second for practice. Turns out, I was wrong. If you passed the first comp exam, you have the option to take the second as practice, but it is not mandatory. You can optionally take up to two exams (out of three offered), but you must only pass once, and you only have to take it once if you pass the first time. I have had this confirmed twice by Dr. Yoshida. First, I read an e-mail that she wrote to a friend confirming it, and then I went to her office to talk to her myself just to make sure I was reading it correctly.

So...if you are not yet clear: You must pass the comp exam ONCE before leaving the island, out of the three times it is offered. If you pass the first time, you may take it for a second time as practice. But, once you pass it, you do not have to take it again! It would probably be good practice, but after the amount of studying I have missed out on, I think my time would be better served reviewing Kaplan or First Aid than taking a 300 question exam, which I have had little time to study for since the first time I took it!

Thanks to everyone

I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone for all the support I've been given both while i was gone, and the short time that I've been back. While I was out, I got pretty constant facebook and skype messages from all sorts of people wishing me well. I've also heard quite a few people, even many who I rarely talk to, say that they were sorry I wasn't at the 5th semester party, since they knew I had put a lot of work into planning it. I, along with Tangra and Geneva, really did put a lot of time into planning that party, and I am very glad to know that even though I couldn't attend, it was appreciated and went over great! Today, when I returned to class, nearly everyone I ran into either came up to me or called out for me to ask how I was feeling and to make sure I was OK. Sure, everyone seems to become your friend when you're sick, but no matter why they did it, it was nice.

So, I am not yet 100%, and that may still take a while, but I am feeling 100% better than I did a few days ago. And, I do appreciate everyone's support. I also appreciate AUC's efforts to make coming back to school as easy as possible. Although I got sick at a very fortunate time, when classes are basically over and there isn't much left to worry about, we're still not done yet. During an already stressful time, any extra bit of stress that they take away further is appreciated.

Also, thanks to my family and girlfriend. I am not always the easiest person to deal with when I'm healthy, and I'm definitely no easier when I'm sick. But, they still spent a lot of time helping me recover and doing what they could to make it a little easier. I'm sorry for making things even more difficult sometimes, but thanks for doing your best anyway.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MSP #1: Mr. Einstein

I'm sure that these people exist in US medical schools just as well as the Caribbean ones, but since I'm in the caribbean, those are the ones I'll be dealing with!

Lets be honest for a moment...everyone is in the Caribbean for one reason or another. You either screwed up your GPA somewhere along the way (first year of college, in my case), did poorly on the MCAT, can't interview, or some other reason. Basically, you didn't get into a US school, so you came to the Caribbean for a second chance at being a doctor.

BUT, NOT Mr. Einstein! This guy got a 35 on the MCAT, somewhere around a 3.8 GPA, and was likely accepted to at least 2 US medical schools! You want proof of this? Just ask him! What's that, you say? Anyone who comes to the Caribbean after being accepted into a US school is either a liar or has profoundly deficient decision making abilities? Oh no, not Mr. Einstein. You see, if he were to go to a US medical school, despite his stellar track record, he would probably just be average. BUT, if he comes to the caribbean, he can be top of his class and really stand out! Plus, the weather is beautiful, and who wouldn't want to spend 2 years on a [third world] caribbean island?!

How does Mr. Einstein do in medical school? Oh...he does very well. He usually gets A's, and he's definitely at the top of the class, somewhere. Oddly enough, he never seems to make it onto the dean's list, but he's definitely at the top, somewhere. Again, just ask him...he'll tell you!

If you have not seen through his thick facade, then maybe you don't know that he's really just squarely average. He usually passes exams, but doesn't actually do that well. He's not a total idiot and probably won't fail any classes, but he's not blowing anyone away either. Most likely, Mr. Einstein will pass the USMLE, but again, nothing spectacular. If you ask him, he's probably going to be a dermatologist or radiologist. In reality, he'll probably wind up in a decent community-based internal medicine program. But, he will be the smartest damn internist you've ever seen and you better not let any resident tell him any differently! Oh...clinicals and residency are going to be fun for this guy.